Genetic Algorithms for University Course Timetabling Problems
thesisposted on 06.09.2012, 12:41 by Sadaf Naseem Jat
The university course timetabling problem is a difficult optimisation problem due to its highly-constrained nature. Finding an optimal, or even a high quality, timetable is a challenging task, especially when resources (e.g., rooms and time slots) are limited. In the literature, many approaches have been studied to solve this problem. In this thesis, we investigate genetic algorithms to solve the problem because they have been successfully used for a wide range of real-world problems. However, for university course timetabling problems, traditional genetic algorithms are not usually considered as efficient solvers. In this thesis, we investigate genetic algorithms to acquire good solutions for university course timetabling problems. Several ideas are introduced to increase the general performance of genetic algorithms on these problems. Local search strategies are introduced into the traditional genetic algorithm to enhance its performance for the university course timetabling problem. This differs from many works in the literature because it works on time slots of the timetable rather than events directly. A guided search approach is also introduced into genetic algorithms to produce high quality individuals into the population. In the guided search technique, the best parts of selected individuals from the current population are stored in an extra memory (or data structure) and are re-used to guide the generation of new individuals for subsequent populations. In addition to solving university course timetabling problems as a single-objective optimisation problem, we also tackle the multi-objective university course timetabling problem. We integrate the above proposed approaches into multi-objective evolutionary algorithms and propose a framework of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms based on local search and guided search strategies for the multi-objective university course timetabling problem. This framework is then instantiated into a set of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms for the multi-objective university course timetabling problem based on a set of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms that are typically used for general multi-objective optimisation problems. Computational results based on a set of well-known university course timetabling benchmark instances, show the effectiveness of the proposed approaches for both single- and multi-objective university course timetabling problems.